COVID-19 won’t push back most of Netflix’s 2021 releases

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Most of the movies and TV shows Netflix plans to release next year will arrive on time despite the coronavirus pandemic disrupting productions, co-CEO Ted Sarandos said.

The streaming giant’s 2021 content slate will remain intact “with a few minor exceptions” now that its shoots are mostly back in full swing, though some releases may arrive later in the year than initially planned, according to Sarandos.

Netflix has wrapped up more than 50 productions since COVID-19 forced shoots to shut down and the company is now “nearly fully operational in most parts of the world,” Sarandos said on Netflix’s earnings call Tuesday. He expects another 150 productions to finish before the end of this year.

“The art of it is how quickly and safely can you reopen, and we’ve been going through that in different parts of the world every day,” Sarandos said. “But right now, I’d say that we’re back to near steady state in physical production.”

Netflix said it has restarted production on some of its highest-profile shows, including the fourth season of the sci-fi series “Stranger Things” and season two of fantasy drama “The Witcher.” The Silicon Valley firm expects to release a larger number of original programs in each quarter of next year compared to this year, with some of its most popular returning titles slated to launch in the second half of 2021.

Netflix maintained a rosy outlook even though the number of movie and TV shoots in Los Angeles plunged by 55 percent compared to a year ago to 4,199 days in the July through September period, according to the nonprofit group FilmLA.

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